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Challenging a will

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If you want to challenge a will or estate

The loss of a loved one is an extremely sad time for most of us. But if you feel as though you’ve been unfairly or mistakenly left out of their will, it can make things even more difficult. It’s always been possible to challenge a will if you have sufficient grounds, and it’s a course of action pursued by an increasing number of people. But what proof do you need to offer to have a reasonable chance of success – and what are the steps you need to take?

Understand the law

Under British law, we’re all usually allowed to leave our possessions to whomever we like. But the courts do have the power to intervene if someone dies without making provision for the people closest to them – such as their spouse, civil partner, or children. Ideally, you’ll need to bring a claim within 6 months of a grant of probate or letters of administration – a court will only hear a later claim in exceptional circumstances.

How we can help

If you think you’ve been unfairly treated in a will, our legal experts can give you guidance on the grounds for making a claim and the steps involved. We can’t tell you what your chances of success are, or what you might get. But if we don’t think a claim is worth pursuing, we’ll tell you.

We’ll:

  • understand why you think you’ve been unfairly treated in a will
  • explain your next steps
  • tell you if we don’t think your claim is likely to succeed

All advice contained within this section relates to England and Wales only.

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Meet your experts
ID Photo Sarah Henley Sarah specialises in supporting our members on Wills, the probate process, Powers of Attorney and estate administration. See profile
Ben Rosser Sq Ben Rossor Ben joined Which? in 2015, prior to this having worked in private practice. He now enjoys using his knowledge to aid members with their issues and queries on wills, probate and estate management.
Paul Hanford Sq Paul Handford With over 20 years of varied legal experience, Paul now specialises in private client work, which includes drawing up wills and deeds of trust. See profile
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